NUTRITION AND THE EYES

September 1, 2015

People are increasingly interested in the effect diet and nutrition can have on health and treating disease.  There are many claims regarding vitamins, supplements, and general health, but many of them are not supported by adequate research (randomized, placebo controlled human trials, etc.).  However, one area where there is good data regarding nutrition and health is with the eyes.  Foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are good for eye health as well as general health according to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS, and AREDS II), funded by the National Eye Institute, and other research. These nutrients are linked to lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, and dry eye later in life.  These nutrients are found in brightly colored and dark green fruits and vegetables, as well as fish.

 

Vitamin D has also shown some promise in reducing the risk of macular degeneration, although more research is necessary. Your eye doctor can give you more information about your particular risk for these conditions, and benefits of diet or supplementation after a complete eye exam.  You can also visit geteyesmart.org to find out more.  This website is sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, our governing board.  Please keep in mind while researching on the internet to use reputable and scientific websites such as the above, and do not rely on claims made with little evidence or heavily sponsored by for-profit companies, as these are often biased.

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